Saturday, 27 February 2010

Motherhood - a review

No, not a review of my role in life, but a 'proper' review, as in 'film review'.
Yes, the very nice Alexandra at Organic Marketing approached me - amongst others - to have a sneak preview of this film with Uma Thurman that is being released on March 8th and write a review.
Imagine that. LCM as film critic. Wonder if I can now put this on my CV as well?

Anyway, the blurb accompanying the DVD goes along the lines of:

The film features Uma as a busy New York mum, in a role which has been described as Carrie of Sex and the City with kids. Uma plays Eliza, a writer who stop pushing the pen when she had her two children, for the sake of Motherhood a change she has not adapted to well. Not one to give up Eliza comically battles her way through the mine field of parenting; stains, arguments with other mothers, disorganization, mess and birthday parties all the while attempting to write a blog on her experiences in between her house work.

So, what did I think? Ready? Here goes.

First. After a good half hour of this film, I still had no clue as to where it was going (answer: nowhere). Eliza lives in what appears to be a one-bedroom top floor flat with two children, a dog, a husband who collects books and leftovers, so much mess that I got palpitations, and a studio next door that she lets out (I think, it is never made clear) to an old biddy with a cat to whom she provides - usefully - cat food and orange juice (what, no tea? Ed.). That seems to be the American way of showing us that she is a good person at heart. Personally I would have knocked the two flats into one and put the lady in a residential home. At least Eliza would have had more room to swing said cat and the old woman would have had outdoor access as opposed to six flights of stairs to climb. But maybe that's just me.

Second. The only person in this (I quote) 'bittersweet comedy' who is truly - and naturally - funny is Minnie Driver. The one scene that did make me laugh was her describing a bath the previous evening where she found an ingenious and alternative use for her son's battery-operated submarine. From another actress this would have caused some smirking, but with Driver heavily pregnant in the film, it was classic comical timing.

Third. Describing Eliza as Sex and the City's Carrie with kids is a gross injustice. Carrie, let's be honest here, would have strut around in her Manolos and had her best gay friend Stanford Blatch organise her daughter's 6th birthday party, cake, goodie bags and all. Whilst I can sympathise with Eliza having a guilt trip and doing it all herself (on a bike - which of course gets a flat tyre - as her car has been towed), has the land of the free not heard of home delivery? C'mon, this is the same country where you can do drive thru to collect you kids from school! West Village or not, it would seem to me that Eliza seems to have made a point of giving up her career in order to embark on total chaos of her choice and making.

Which brings me to my fourth and final point. Many of the topics covered are ones I can relate to: stroppy people in queues expousing their (unwanted) opinions at you; dealing with other over-zealous (or just weird) mothers; keeping on top of the never-ending laundry pile; a husband/father who is doing his best (in his books) but is never quite enough (by wife/mother's standards); feeling that precious time with your children is slipping by and that you are not quite grasping enough of it.
However, this film misses a trick in that it has the classic sweet ending whereby a small sacrifice makes everything better. Not necessarily right, just momentarily better. I never got a sense of who Eliza really was, nor why she was in such a state. The only insight comes in a far-fetched almost cringingly awful scene with a courier who delivers what is ultimately the not-quite-life-changing unexpected bonus.

Verdict? I wanted to slap Eliza and tell her to get a grip. For a woman who must have once been pretty much in control of her life (some of her conversations hint at this) she seems to have totally 'lost it'. And blaming it on Motherhood is a very poor excuse.


  1. Thank you for that review. I won't bother going to see it, so you've saved me some money! I may however watch it when it comes to tvland, on a night when OH is out with his mates. HM x

  2. Love this!! Made me giggle so hard that must check the chair. Might go and see the film, just to see if our views coincide, which I suspect, they will. More of these, please! x

  3. HM & LWM - think this is a film that is "going straight to DVD". No surprises there then.

    It is also possibly the first and last time I am asked to post a review! The PR agency is probably still reeling with shock (but at least I was honest).

  4. This is the 2nd review I've read, and neither of them make me want to see the film.

    I've never enjoyed watching Minnie Driver in anything, I have to say.

    I think the PR agency will love it, because even bad publicity is good publicity. So although I say I don't want to see the film, when I next to go to Blockbusters and can't see anything that grabs me, this title will catch my eye on the shelf, and I'll think "I wonder if it really is as bad as they say" as my hand reaches inexorably for it.

  5. 'Knocked the two flats into one and put the lady in a residential home' - that made me laugh out loud!

    Can you really do drive thru for school pick up? Where? Clearly I need to change schools.


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